Cub Scout Pack 787

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2019 Pinewood Derby Rules

Pinewood Derby has been an exciting part of Cub Scouts since the 1950s.   It is intended to be a wholesome, constructive activity to foster a closer relationship with your scout and it promotes craftsmanship and good sportsmanship through competition.  We encourage all scouts to use their creativity and ingenuity to build their cars and continue in the spirit of this event by following the rules set out here.

Eligible Participants: Each registered scout may enter 1 car.  One sibling (ages 5 through 11) from each scout's family may enter 1 car in the Siblings Race if they choose.   And one adult from each scout's family may enter 1 car in the Adults Race if they choose.   The exact same rules and specifications apply to Sibling and Adult races as the Scout races.

Body: The main body structure must be made from the wood block provided in a BSA approved kit. Cars that were purchased completed may not be used. If the builder lacks the resources to cut out a car from a stock block of wood, there are often workshops planned (den/pack/district/council) that your scout is encouraged to attend.  Alternately, a pre-shaped block may be purchased to be used with the stock BSA Wheels and Axles.   PLEASE BE EXTRA CAUTIOUS!!!  THERE ARE KITS SOLD AT HOBBY LOBBY AND ELSEWHERE WHOSE WHEELS AND AXLES ARE NOT BSA-APPROVED AND THEY WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO RACE!!!   A BSA-APPROVED KIT (OTHER THAN THE STANDARD KIT IN A BLUE RECTANGULAR BOX) SHOULD INCLUDE WHEELS WITH "BSA" ON THE SIDEWALL OF THE WHEEL (See photo below).   WHEN IN DOUBT, CONTACT BRANDON CAIN FOR CLARIFICATION.

Cars must designed, built and aligned by the racer with minimal adult supervision. Cars may not be sent to third party facilities for construction, tuning or other performance enhancements.

Construction of ALL entries must have begun after last year?s race (in other words, no encore performances).   ANOTHER WAY OF SAYING THIS IS DO NOT ENTER A CAR THAT HAS PREVIOUSLY RACED... WE'LL KNOW  ;-)

Car Specs:

A. Width - Not to exceed 2 3/4 inches

B. Length - Not to exceed 7 inches

C. Weight - Not to exceed 5.0 ounces on scale accurate to 1/10 ounce.

D. Height - Not to exceed 3 inches

E. Center Rail Width Clearance - Must clear center guide rails, typically no less than 1-3/4 inches minimum.

F. Bottom Clearance - No less than 3/8 inches from track surface. Fender flairs with less clearance are acceptable as long as the center rail width clearance is the same in rule E. Weights are preferred to be inset in the body or on top of the car to aid in a safe stop at the end of the track.

G. Wheelbase - All cars must have a wheel base no less than 4", with the two rear wheels being positioned directly across the body from one another and the two front wheels being positioned directly across the body from one another.

H. Front End ? Depending upon the track, the front of the car may rest against a short starting pin. We therefore require that the front bottom of the car which rests on the pin is no higher than 1" above the track. The front end must be at least ½ inches wide in the middle. No part of the car can extend beyond the starting pin.

The car design may be enhanced by the addition of other stable materials such as plastic or metal. Any additions must be firmly attached and meet Car Size Requirements.

No part of the car body, wheels or attachments may protrude in front of the starting peg.

The following items are PROHIBITED:

A. Springs

B. Starting devices or propellants

C. Electronic or lighting devices that interfere with the race electronics.

D. Liquids, wet paint, oil, sticky substance, or powders of any kind (other than axle lubrication- only graphite allowed)

E. Glass or excessively fragile parts

F. Bearings, bushings, washers, sleeves, hubcaps or inserts attached to or in contact with the axle, body or wheels.

G. Loose objects on car

H. Magnets

I. No part of any car or attachment to any car that is metal, pointed, sharp, and/or jagged may be capable of contacting any part of the track.


  • Use only Official Scout Grand Prix wheels. All lettering/numbering, both inside and outside, must remain complete and be visible. The fluting and other BSA markings on the outside wheel area must remain visible. The outer wheel surface that touches the track may be sanded to remove surface imperfections and mold casting burrs. The outside wheel diameter may not be reduced to the point where the outer ring of decorative bumps (tread marks) is touched.  The outer wheel surface must not be reshaped in any way in an attempt to minimize tread contact or alter aerodynamics. Tread surface must be flat and parallel to the wheel bore. Coning the hubs and truing the inside tread edge is allowed. Tread width may not be reduced (no less than 7.5mm). The inside wheel diameter may not be sanded or machined in any way that increases its diameter.  You may add material to the inside of the wheel to aid in balancing (glue, fingernail polish, tape) the wheel.
  • Wheel Bores may be polished and sanded to remove imperfections, but may not be filled and re-drilled to alter bore diameter or to achieve better fit with the axle.
  • There must be at least four wheels on the car, however, it is not required that all four wheels make contact with the track surface.
  • Each wheel must be mounted on an axle, on the outside of the car, in the vertical position. Each wheel must be attached directly to the car by an axle and spin freely. No part of the wheel may overlap the center guide rail by more than 1/8 inch. The two rear wheels and the two front wheels must be positioned directly across the body from each another. Staggered wheelbases are not allowed.
  • No part of the car or any attachment to the car may be capable of coming into contact with the track other than the wheel(s).


The following wheel modifications are PROHIBITED:

A. Rounding of tread surface/wheel edges

B. Grooving, H-cutting or V-cutting

C. Altering of wheel profile

D. Narrowing the tread surface, other than truing inside tread edge

E. Drilling sidewalls

F. Hollowing, sanding, or otherwise removing or modifying material from inside the wheel

G. Filling of any wheel surface with any type of material



  • BSA Nail type axles are required with an overall diameter of no less than .084 inches for each wheel.  Filing, sanding and polishing to remove burs is allowed as long as overall diameter is not reduced below .084 requirement.
  • Grooves are allowed; the depth of the groove(s) is not limited so long as the journal portion of the axle (the part the wheel rides on) is no less than the stated minimum diameter.
  • Axles must not be connected to any device that mechanically alters rotation and spin.
  • Axles must be mounted into the wood sections of car. Drilled holes or slots can be used.
  • ONLY dry lubricants like graphite are permitted.  Over-application of lubricant which results in excessive shedding onto the track is not allowed.  Powdered Graphite is the ONLY allowed lubrication.  No liquid lubricants, spray Teflon, etc can be allowed due to the mess it makes on the track.


  • Each car must pass inspection by the Official Inspection Committee before it may compete. The Inspectors will disqualify any car not meeting these rules.
  • After acceptance only race officials will handle the cars.
  • Cars may be reclassified or disqualified if they are determined by the race officials to not meet these requirements.


  • The drilling/removal of Lead (Pb) will NOT be allowed at the race venues or at check-in time due to the toxicity of the material. All Lead must be completely sealed and safe from all possible contact with the youth. 
  • Tungsten is a non-toxic metal which is commonly substituted for Lead and it is actually denser (heavier) than Lead.  Also commonly used weights are segmented ?snap-off? plates which are available wherever Pinewood Derby supplies are sold.


Any car losing wheels or any part that prevents it from running cannot be repaired after the inspection and weigh in.

EXCEPTION: Race officials may authorize repairs when damage is caused by collision with another vehicle or object.  In this case, the Cub Scout is in charge of making all car repairs. Guidance is allowed and encouraged. Ideally repairs can be done before the next heat that the car is in starts. After the car is repaired Officials will run the race again. If the car cannot be repaired before it?s next race starts, that race will also be delayed until the end of the races.


GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP AND BEHAVIOR IS EXPECTED. Race Officials may ask anyone not following this rule to leave.

See link below for lots of different Pinewood Derby templates that can be printed.

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